Kohlrabi not only turns into delicious food, but it is a rich source of nutrients. It contains a lot of fiber and vitamin C, making it a healthier option to adding to the diet. Let’s see more kohlrabi health benefits!
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that is related to the cabbage family, and it can be easily grown in home gardens. Its shape makes it easy to recognize, as it looks like a green onion bulb with a few leaves sticking out of it. It can also sometimes be found in a purple variety
This vegetable is widely consumed in Europe and Asia. However, it has now gained popularity worldwide, and it can easily be found in local grocery stores or winter farmers’ markets.
Kohlrabi can be enjoyed raw or roasted. It can also be added to slaws, salads, and stir-fries.
What Is Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi, also known as German turnip, is a cool-weather crop. This vegetable tastes like broccoli but is a little sweeter. Despite its secondary name of German turnip, it doesn’t belong to the turnip family; it belongs to the family of Brussels sprout, cauliflower, collards, mustard green, and kale.
The kohlrabi plant has a long leafy stem. Kohlrabi usually has purple skin, but is always whitish-yellow on the inside. This vegetable is also described as alien-like due to its appearance of multiple stems growing out of the bulb.
This vegetable is mainly used in salad and soups but can also be sautéed and roasted. Not only the bulb of this vegetable but its leaves and stem can also be cooked and has a slightly crunchy texture.
This vegetable can easily be found in grocery stores during the fall, winter, and early spring. Kohlrabi is available in most grocery stores all around the year.
Nutritional Value of Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi contains a large number of nutrients. According to a research (USDA), one cup of raw kohlrabi contains:
- Calories: 36
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Potassium: 10% of the daily recommended value
- Folate: 5% of the daily recommended value
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the daily recommended value
- Vitamin C: 93% of the daily recommended value
- Manganese: 8% of the daily recommended value
- Magnesium: 6% of the daily recommended value
Moreover, a large amount of antioxidants is also present in kohlrabi. These antioxidants protect the body from free radicals and play an essential role in healing, iron absorption, and immune health.
The presence of vitamin B6 in this vegetable also supports immune health, the production of red blood cells, and protein metabolism.
Kohlrabi also contains minerals and electrolytes essential for fluid balance and heart health. According to research (Dreher, 2018), one cup of kohlrabi can provide almost 17% of the daily recommended value of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber helps improve gut health and maintain blood sugar levels.
Health Benefits of Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi contains a large amount of nutrient in it. And this nutrient can provide many health benefits and reduce the risk of many diseases.
1. High in Antioxidants:
Many antioxidants like Vitamin C, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, and anthocyanins are present in kohlrabi. These all antioxidants protect the body against free radicals, which reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like cancer.
Studies (Miller, 2017) have also shown that a diet high in antioxidant-rich vegetables like kohlrabi is linked with a lower risk of diabetes, metabolic diseases, and premature death.
Moreover, the skin of kohlrabi is high in anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid that gives fruits and vegetables red, blue, or purple. A higher intake of anthocyanins also reduces the risk of heart disease and improves brain health.
There are different colored varieties of kohlrabi and contain isothiocyanates and glucosinolate. Both are antioxidants and are associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer, inflammation, and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Improve Gut Health:
Kohlrabi contains a large content of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both of these fibers help in improving health. Soluble fiber helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber doesn’t break down in the intestine, adding bulk to stool, which maintains regular bowel movement.
Moreover, studies (Edward S Chambers, 2018) have also found that fiber can improve the health of gut bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli; both of these bacteria play an essential role in the production of short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cell of the gut and also protect against obesity and heart diseases.
Furthermore, these healthy gut bacteria can also be associated with a healthier immune system and a lower risk of bowel diseases.
3. Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases:
Kohlrabi contains glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, powerful plant compounds mainly found in cruciferous vegetables.
A higher intake of glucosinolates can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases because of its ability to reduce inflammation and widen the blood vessels. Moreover, the antioxidant properties in isothiocyanates can also help prevent plaque buildup in arteries.
According to a study of 1226 older women (Blekkenhorst, 2017), women who consume cruciferous vegetables had a 13% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. This is all because of the high content of fiber present in these vegetables.
Moreover, a high amount of anthocyanins is present within purple kohlrabi; this can lower the blood pressure risk and stroke.
According to one review of 15 studies (Lauren C Blekkenhorst, 2017), a diet rich in fiber can decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases by 24%.
4. Boost Energy Level:
Kohlrabi is also rich in potassium, a mineral that plays an important role in the behavior of muscles and nerves in the body. Potassium helps us move, breathe, react, and function daily.
So adding such vegetables into the diet, which contain a higher amount of potassium, can be a healthy addition that can make you alert and energetic and also keep you in good shape.
5. Improve Immune System:
The nutrients present in kohlrabi may also support the immune system. This vegetable contains a higher vitamin B6, which plays an important role in protein metabolism, improves immune function, and develops red blood cells.
Research (Bingjun Qian, 2017) has also shown the benefits of vitamin B6 in improving the immune system. According to this research, vitamin B6 is involved in producing white blood cells and T-cells, a type of immune cells that fight against foreign substances and play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. The deficiency of this nutrient may be linked to various diseases caused by a weakened immune system.
Moreover, kohlrabi contains more vitamin C, supporting white blood cell function and strengthening the immune system.
6. Helps in Losing Weight:
According to a report (Jeffrey A. Morrison, 2013) published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, kohlrabi can be a perfect vegetable for weight loss because it is low in calories and high in fiber and other beneficial nutrients.
Fiber can help a lot in losing weight because it can make you feel full for a longer time. If the volume of food we consume is not significant, we will be more likely to search for snacks or processed food. But fiber can prevent this overeating and snack by lowering the process of digestion.
7. Regulate Blood Pressure:
According to Dr. Jiang He of Harvard University (Paul K. Whelton, 1997), potassium not only impacts energy levels but also functions as a vasodilator and reduces the strain on the cardiovascular system by easing the tension of arteries and blood vessels, which can increase the circulation throughout the body and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attacks.
Potassium also plays an important role in fluid regulation in the body as it works with sodium to regulate fluid movement between cells.
8. Helps in Preventing Anemia:
Not only potassium, but kohlrabi contains a large content of iron as well. The significant amount of minerals and iron in kohlrabi can benefit health. Iron helps increase the number of red blood cells in the body; these red blood cells are essential to prevent iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency can cause weakness, stomach disorders, fatigue, and headaches. It can also lead to disorientation and immune system failure.
Studies (Tomás Walter, 2009) have found that the calcium in the kohlrabi can increase the body’s ability to uptake iron. So, adding kohlrabi to the diet can be very helpful for those suffering from iron deficiency.
9. Improve Eye Health:
According to a research report published in the Journal of Clinical Interventions (Helen M Rasmussen, 2013), kohlrabi is a rich source of carotenoids like beta-carotene, which work as an antioxidant in the body, especially in the ocular area.
Moreover, vitamin A in kohlrabi can help prevent macular degeneration and reduce the risk of cataracts, the clouding of standard eye lenses. In this condition, people feel like they are looking through a foggy window or glass.
The antioxidants present in kohlrabi can prevent this condition due to its property of neutralizing the free radicals and preventing oxidative stress.
How to Use Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be consumed raw and cooked. There are many different and easy ways through which kohlrabi can be added to the diet:
- Raw kohlrabi can be used in different ways; it can be simply chopped into pieces and enjoyed as a crunchy snack with hummus.
- Chopped or grated kohlrabi can also be added to salads, fritters, and slaws.
- One of the easiest ways to cook kohlrabi is to roast it; the bulb of this vegetable can be sliced into medallions and then roasted to make a roasted kohlrabi steak.
- Kohlrabi can also be spiralized; kohlrabi noodles are sold in some stores. These noodles can be stored too or used in place of spaghetti.
- Kohlrabi leaves can also be added to a salad and soups to increase taste and nutrition.
- The kohlrabi bulb can be used in place of crunchy vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, and radish. At the same time, the leaves can be used in place of spinach, kale, and other greens.
How to Cook Kohlrabi?
If you want to cook kohlrabi, here are a few simple steps:
- Start by removing the stem and leaves; chop them into pieces if you want these into the recipe.
- Peel the skin of the kohlrabi bulb with the help of a knife; even its outer skin is edible, but it tends to be tough, that’s why most people prefer it to be removed.
- Finally, slice the kohlrabi into pieces of the shape and size you want. You can also grate the kohlrabi with a grater or turn it into noodles with the help of a spiralizer.
- Enjoy this peeled and chopped kohlrabi raw or cooked. It can also be sautéed, roasted, boiled, and grilled.
Cooked kohlrabi can also be stored; put the cooked kohlrabi into an airtight container and put it into the fridge. Cooked kohlrabi can last up to a few days in the fridge, depending on how it was prepared.
How to Store Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is sold in many forms; some sell it with stems and leaves, while others just sell its bulb without stems and leaves. If you just want to store the bulb, put it into an airtight bag and put it into the fridge. If you eat a piece of a bulb and want to store what’s left, then wrap it tightly into a plastic or beeswax bag.
Keep these pieces in the fridge after putting these into an airtight container. With proper storage, the whole bulb and cut kohlrabi can last for a week in the fridge.
If you bought kohlrabi with stem and leaves, it should also be stored in a sealed bag in the fridge. The stem and leaves may wilt after a few days, but the bulb will last longer.
If you want to use stems and leaves, try to use them sooner. A little wilted stem and leaves are still ok to use, but if they are discolored or changed their odor, then discard them.
Kohlrabi is a vegetable with a lot of nutrients and health benefits. It can provide a significant fiber content which helps improve the gut and lose weight.
Moreover, other nutrients and plant compounds in kohlrabi support the immune system and lower the risk of diseases like heart attack, cancer, and inflammation.
Kohlrabi is an easy and versatile vegetable that can be added to the diet in many different ways; some people like to eat its bulb only, while others add its stem and leave it in recipes. So, try adding this vegetable to your daily diet routine to get all the health benefits.
Other Root Vegetable Recipes:
- Turnip Fries
- Turnip Curry
- Roasted Carrots And Parsnip
- Sautéed Radishes and Radish Greens
- Gluten-Free French Fried Onions
- Carrot Top Chimichurri Sauce
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Beets with Chimichurri Sauce
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